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Yamaha DM2000 is global asset for award-winning producer

Jul, 2009

Such is the nature of the music business that, as well as the artists they work with, some recording producers themselves become well-known personalities. Very few, however, can claim to have recorded over 3000 artists in a decade - which is precisely the achievement of award winning producer / recording engineer Chris Denman and his trusty Yamaha DM2000 mixing console.

Recording artist sessions for Global Radio - the group that includes some of the UK’s highest profile radio stations including Capital FM, Heart, Xfm, Gold, Classic FM, Choice FM and Galaxy - Chris has worked with artists ranging from complete unknowns to high profile stars like Chris Martin, Placebo, The Mastodons, Lionel Richie, Kelly Clarkson and Bloc Party. But whoever the artist is, Chris’s schedule is relentless in its demands.

He records two full band sessions every working day, a schedule which requires extremely intuitive usability and cast iron reliability from your equipment, both of which DM2000 provides.

“When I first went to work for Global, I was presented with a Yamaha 02R, which was later replaced with the DM2000,” he says.

“They were originally chosen because they delivered the best performance for the available budget and I can honestly say that over 10 years they have fulfilled every requirement I have had of them.”

He continues, “Another advantage was space. The old Xfm studio was tiny and I was basically in the same room as the band. I was monitoring on headphones, mixing the band as live and recording a stereo mix direct to DAT. A small format digital console was ideal because rolling around the studio tweaking/patching analogue gear just wouldn’t have worked.

“In addition, every night I’d take a band live to air. I’d end up mixing each track individually at sound check (making the band play the track three or four times) and scene save, then recall these mixes on the fly live.

“It was real seat-of-your-pants stuff, but great fun!”

When you read of major bands taking two or three years (and sometimes longer) to record an album, it seems light years away from the high pressure environment of Chris’s job, recording two full band sessions every day, with time so tight that he has to get it absolutely right first time. But having been doing this job for a decade and knowing he can completely rely on the DM2000, it’s a routine that he is now well used to.

“It can be very high pressure, but over the years you get used to it,” he says. “You get to know the equipment very well and I’m very fast at dialling up things on the console. Nowadays I don’t have to take my right hand off the jog wheel whatsoever, apart from lifting my cup of tea!”

Recently Chris’s working life has subtly changed, having added the multi-track recording option to the DM2000, meaning his days of doing a live mix to two track DAT are over.

“At the beginning of this year I was very lucky to have a new studio built at Global Radio, so I now have a separate control room and the multi-track add-on. But otherwise I haven’t changed my system. Why change a great way of working?” he says.

“I have the DM2000 interfaced to an Apple Macintosh running Logic recording software via ADAT cards. But it’s more-or-less the same as before. The only major difference is that now I can do more editorial changes (for example salvaging takes). I still record stuff ‘as live’, due to the workload and pressures of time.”

He continues, ”The desk has never fallen over on me, the interface is rock solid. I have been matching production and mixes of all types of albums over the years and I can make the DM2000 sound the same as any of them in three hours. For me it’s a wonderful piece of kit, it’s perfect for the job I have to do and on top of that it’s helped to win me a Radio Academy Studio Sessions award. So thank you, Yamaha!”

Some of Chris’s recording sessions using the DM2000 are available on the CD XFM Presents This Is Music and the XFM Debut Sessions box set.

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